RE:look Design - Core Competencies in Transition

What do industrial designers do when they design?

Thursday March 14, 2013, 9.00–16.00
Konstfack, Stockholm

In the last couple of years we have experienced an increasing interest in 'design's' capability to deal with complex issues, and designerly ways to approach wicked problems are often recognised as powerful. Practicing industrial designers are engaged in an evermore-expanding field of work from the careful design of physical artefacts, to developing services, experiences, interactions, strategies and innovations. Sometimes in line with, but often also at odds with, sustainability concerns.

Instead of trying to define the limits or borders of industrial design, this symposium will focus on what the core competencies of a designer might be. Is it possible to define the current core competencies of an industrial designer? Are there specific ingredients of the industrial design profession that makes its contribution valuable in shaping futures? To what extent is design influenced and following other professions and lines of thought, and to what extent is design driving change? Is the core mix of competencies stable or in constant transition? How can this be understood and nurtured inside and outside design schools?

This symposium will be an opportunity for discussions between practitioners, academics and students in design, seeded by several inspiring presenters. The participants will discuss, debate and propose important competencies designers should manage in order to be able to contribute in ways that other professions cannot. Or in other words:

What are the differences that make a difference?

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The participants

Maria Benktzon is a Professor, a Industrial designer and founding partner of Veryday (formerly Ergonomidesign). She is an active inclusive design practitioner who has been involved in many pioneering projects; the first angled bread knife for Gustavsberg (1974), the SAS coffee pot (1988), and many more.

Anna Holmquist is an Industrial designer who works very close to manufacturing processes in order to challenge our pre-conceptions of what we consider valuable. She is one of the two founders of Folkform and also a PhD student in design.

Marco Steinberg is the Director of Strategic Design at the Finnish Innovation Fund where he leads the Fund's capability to apply design in order to help shape strategic improvements. Previously he was a Professor at the Harvard Design School (1999-2009). He has also worked with governments to build innovation capabilities.

Erik Stolterman is Professor of Informatics and some of his main interests are within philosophy and theory of design. He has published a large number of articles and five books, including "The Design Way".

Anna Valtonen is the rector of the Umeå Institute of Design and was previously Head of Design Research & Foresight at Nokia. Her doctoral thesis deals with the professional development of industrial design practice in Finland.

Bo Westerlund is Professor of Industrial Design at Konstfack.

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9:00 – Welcome and introduction – Bo Westerlund, Konstfack ID

Bo Westerlund introduces the symposium on designers' Core Comptencies. from ID Konstfack.

9:15 – Maria Benktzon – The design of physical products in relation to use, often by specific users

9:45 – Anna Holmquist – Careful and attentive design work of physical products in close relation to production

Anna Holmquist from ID Konstfack.

10:15 – Coffee

10:45 – Anna Valtonen – A historical reflection on the design profession

Anna Valtonen - A historical reflection on the design profession from ID Konstfack.

11:15 – Marco Steinberg – Design as a strategic approach helps delivering more complete and resilient solutions

Marco Steinberg-Strategic design from ID Konstfack.

11:45 – Workshop assignment, practical info, creating workshop issues and groups 11:45-12:15

12:15 – Lunch, and discussions over lunch 12:15- 13:30

13:30 – Erik Stolterman – Understanding design practice, design methods, and design theory

Erik Stolterman from ID Konstfack.

14:00 – Mapping exercise/workshop presentations

15:00 – Panel discussion (15:00-15:45 including a few questions)

15:45 – Thanks

16:00 – End of day

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RE:look is a series of symposia whose aim is to inform a forthcoming reader in design. These initiatives are realised within the project Designerly Designed Design Educations (DDDE).DDDE is funded by a NordPlus Higher Education initiative through a CIRRUS umbrella-application.

Attendance is free, but seats are allocated on arrival. The event is in English.